Amoebiasis also known as amoebic dysentery is an intestinal illness transmitted when someone drinks or eats something that is contaminated with a microscopic parasite called amoebas(Entamoeba histolytica). Amoebiasis is common in tropical countries with poor sanitations. People with high risk of amoebiasis include:
- Immigrants from countries with poor sanitation
- People living in institutions with under developed sanitation such as the prison
- People with weak immune systems and other health conditions
- People who travelled to tropical regions where there’s poor sanitation
Amoebiasis occurs when the parasites or their eggs(cysts) are taken in by mouth throughfoodsor drinks. Individuals with amoebiasis have Entamoeba histolytica parasites in their stool and the infection spread when the infected individuals don’t dispose their stool in a proper manner or not washing their hands after visiting the toilet. It can also spread through contaminated hands carrying the parasites to food that may be eaten ty other people. Hands can also be contaminated by an infected infant when changing the nappies. Amoebiasis is also spread by:
- Eating contaminated raw fruits and vegetables.
- Drinking contaminated water
- Unprotected oral and anal sexual contact
Amoebiasis symptoms include :
- Stomach cramps
It may take days or even months and years to become ill after you’re infected with amoebiasis. In most cases the illness develops two to four weeks after infection. When the parasite invades the lining of your intestines, it causes amebic dysenter which is a very dangerous form of amoebiasis with frequent watery and stools with blood and also severe stomach cramping. The liver is the most frequent destination of the parasite with it’s symptoms being tenderness in the upper right part of your abdomenand fever.
Your doctor may suspect amoebiasis after asking about your recent health history and tests for the presence of E. histolytica. For uncomplicated cases of amoebiasis, treatment generally consists of a 10 day course of metronidazole that is usually take as a capsule. Surgery may be necessary if the parasite us present and caused any damage in your intestinal tissues.
Proper sanitation is the key to avoiding amoebiasis. The following are ways to prevent amoebiasis around the home:
- Avoid sharing face washers or towels
- Always clean your bathrooms and toilets
- Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and running water after using the toilet
- Washing raw vegetables before you cook them
- Avoid drinks containing ice.